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Budget Weddings

What else can I cut?

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Re: What else can I cut?

  • MWVDMWVD member
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    That being said if a family member or more said we want to cook this and have access to food pans, bonson burners (which can often be rented). I don't see what the issue is. 
  • MWVD said:
    That being said if a family member or more said we want to cook this and have access to food pans, bonson burners (which can often be rented). I don't see what the issue is. 

    Family can offer, but the best thing to do is politely decline asking that they enjoy being a guest instead. In my family, offering to help is just what you do, but that doesn't mean I'm going to take the offer of help. I actually think my Mother is relieved that she doesn't have to lift a finger for my wedding. Even if pans and heaters are owned, unless you caterer for a living, there can still be food safety issues with warm (not hot spots) in pans, time being left out and warmed (at least in my city, there are regulations about this) and general prep. I also would be concerned about cross contamination with allergies if one wasn't used to handling these concerns. It can be done, but for etiquette and safety reasons, it is just easier to avoid. Either cake and punch it or hire a caterer.
    MesmrEwe
  • That does all sound fantastic, @adk19. I hope it is amazing!

    My concern is not for my expectations, it's over what the people driving 10 hours in for expect.  Are my new in-laws going to complain for the next decade that there wasn't alcohol, or a wedding arch, or favors?  Even if the "traditions" are recent inventions, people sure have started expecting them REAL quick.  And no, I don't "need" to cook the food myself.  I *wanted* to.  

    I guess the moral of the story is to stop caring.


     Everyone said that, health concerns aside, they'd feel insulted or unhappy and being asked to cook (help someone you love with an important event at an activity the guest of honor enjoys) but I don't see how that part is different from inviting them to a party that I want but they don't think is fun, or find ugly, or just overall tacky and sub-par, and them still being unhappy.  
    You're never going to make every single person happy. I'm having similar anxiety about what to do for my reception. In asking people to fly out and don't want to disappoint. I sat down and really thought about it The other day, I wanted to impress my family is more like it. We are paying for everything ourselves and I'm the only one of the "kids" (In 36 and thwsecound youngest) to do this

    I asked FI what about the wedding from ceremony to venue to reception mattered most, and incorporated his wants, then I figured out what mattered most to me. Then I made sure my guests would be properly hosted and told myself that if someone didn't like the food, or were peeved they didn't get a favor, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

    Get married in a way that makes you and you FI happy. Host your guests, if you have them, properly. Screw everything else.

  • I only remember ceterpieces at my sisters wedding. They were lovely, apolacaryvjars of different shapes and sizes, taper candles and fake flowers. I remember for 2 reasons...I helped set up because they people who were supposed to help didn't show up, and because while lighting the candles "someone" accidently set a lavender sprig on fire. 

    I saw it right away and extinguished it...no harm, no foul.

    MesmrEwe
  • I think you need to sit down with your FI and really figure out what you two really want to have, rather than what to cut.  If what you two really want is to elope, go for it!  If not, then start with the essentials and work your way up.  Really think about who you want there, not who you feel obligated to invite.  

    I definitely feel you on worrying that it's not "enough" for people to travel for.  We had family come half way across the country (and one of those only flew in for the day because of her med school schedule!).  If you focus on the stuff your guests will directly use, you'll be fine, especially with that budget.  The biggest things will be food, drink and physical comfort.  We spent about $9,000 in a Philadelphia suburb, and over 2/3 of that was food, drink, reception venue or things used to serve food.

    For catering, try to think outside the box.  An Italian restaurant we loved ended up having catering for $15 per person for dinner and apps.  And our friend who is a chef and runs a catering business said it was some of the best wedding food he's ever had. 

    I get the urge to try to self cater.  I had to tell DH that any time I brought up the idea of self-catering (just us cooking) to shut that down quick.  And I also love cooking and have worked in large-scale food service.  But, especially for that many people, there's just so much potential for problems, it's not worth the stress, even if it turned out perfectly.  

    As long as the food is filling, safe and relatively tasty, people should be happy. If they're not, then they're being ungrateful.  


    charlotte989875
  • @p3pp3rmint, I'm not going to echo what pp's said, because they're all right. 

    But I want to add that I'm glad you came back. It sounds like you were expecting a lot of "ZOMG WEDDING" here, which isn't really what we do (though some of us love weddings a lot). I for one expected flowers and decor weren't in the budget at all when you outlined the rest - I don't have any budget for flowers (even though our overall budget IS around $30k), because I don't care to pay for them. Our budget is all about the food, the open bar, and the DJ (around $25k).

    I hope you stick around. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, and I'd like to hear your opinion on some of the issues we see around here. 
    charlotte989875
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    OP- Scrap the decor, flowers, centerpieces and favours. Completely unnecessary. People might say, "Oh, what pretty centerpieces!" when they first walk in, but honestly, no one really cares about those things- what people do care about is a good meal, beverages to be had (does not need to be alcoholic), and a comfortable spot to sit. Particularly when one is considering good food vs. food poisoning risk.

    I feel like you are coming at your wedding priorities and budget from the opposite way. You are trying to skrimp on one of the most important aspects (food) in order to do things that do not matter one bit (decor, flowers).

    Have you honestly worked out your current meal plan? You say you'll get a group of people together the day before. Do you have a big enough kitchen to fit that many people? Do you have more than one oven/stove to cook multiple things? Do you have enough bowls, dishes and bake ware to prepare, cook, store and serve all this food? Is your fridge big enough to hold food for 100 people overnight?

    How will you get the food to the venue? At what time? Where will you store the food during the ceremony? When will you heat the hot food up? Again- does your venue have the equipment and space for this? Who will do this? Who will serve the food? Who will clean up the food? Who is going to bring back all your cookware and serve ware back to your home? When?

    How will you fit all of this in between getting your hair done, getting dressed, taking photos, and you know, getting married?

    There are a lot of ways to make this much easier on yourself while still maintaining your budget.

    A cake and punch reception is an excellent option. Or, if you still want to go the dinner route, there are A LOT of catering options. Unfortunately there was a funeral in my family the other weekend. My dad and his FI paid for the reception meal after the funeral. Yes- full meal (I've usually seen nibbles). 2 salad options, buns with cold cuts and cheese, pasta dish (penne with tomato sauce), meatballs and sausages, veggie trays, squares/tartes/brownie trays for dessert. My dad said it was ~$20 per person. That's $2k for you- you could still provide a limited open bar (wine and beer only).

    $12 is still a good budget. When I got married, while I know we are not the same area, we had 72 guests for a Sat evening dinner+dance with full open bar for just over $13k (CAN). We did save a lot, as our venue offered a package, so we got meal + bar+ tables+linens+service+ decor for all one price (I believe it was $57 and change). I used the venue's centerpieces, which were vases with tea lights, as well as their linens and napkins- more than fine! The only flowers we had were for bouquets and boutonnieres; spent about $200 total. We had a candy bar as our favour- but completely unnecessary. I bought my dress for $550 from DB (before taxes and alterations). Did not rent vehicles- our family used our own. Found a local baker who made us cupcakes and a small cake to cut, I think that was $240 total (including delivery, stand and set up). Found a very well priced DJ via word of mouth- $800 for the day (he played our ceremony and cocktail hour music too). Photography was $1950 for 2 shooters for 6 hours.

    In our case, we were also planning the wedding from OOT, so I found it valuable to have a traditional venue that regularly does weddings- I could get everything done in one place, and they have all the decor and stuff already- sometimes you can save better going this route. But, there are a lot of other options with halls/churches/cultural centers that provide a nice catered meal for a good price.

    Do you have your venue yet? Maybe if you give us some more details/ideas you have, we could help with ideas.
  • I don't have a venue yet.  The wedding is hopefully a year out so it's time to start looking.  I'm in the Shreveport, Louisiana area and am hoping to find an outdoor or open-air venue, but I haven't had a chance to tour yet or get quotes. But I feel very encouraged by the responders who are emphasizing that the wedding really can just include the parts you care about, and very few people will hold your decor against you.  Also, thanks for seeing a $12K budget as doable.  

    Random question for @SP29, since you said your provided centerpieces used tea lights -- and any others who used candles -- did you find that there was difficulty in keeping the candles lit throughout the reception?  I really love the look of candles, but I figured that getting and keeping them all lit might be a hassle and wasn't planning on including any. 

    The photographer I'm looking at is a former coworker whose packages start at $1500, but I may end up needing to go with someone more local.  Don't plan on any vehicle rentals, and am torn on the idea of a videographer  (I love things being documented but how often would you watch a video compared to the ease of seeing pictures?), and also up in the air about a DJ -- it would depend on what kind of sound system is available at the venue for a Spotify playlist.  Have y'all found that having a DJ to encourage the crowd has been helpful?

    I actually don't want a band for any part of the occasion because I prefer versions of songs that I know, not interpretations that you can't follow along with in your head (I know that's weird).
  • you could just cater with pizza.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I've been engaged since 1/28/2010, so it's high time I had a wedding.  Main reasons it just hasn't happened yet are my parent's disapproval of my fiance, and the difficulty of planning anything a year in advance when you intend to switch jobs or are in a master's program.  But now that I'm in a PhD program and will be here for a while, and FH will be graduating in the fall, I want to get serious.  

    My parents told me long ago that they had no intention of paying for my wedding, so I know I'm going to have to budget or DIY most of the day.  That works great for me, because I don't want many aspects of a typical wedding anyway.  In light of that, here is a list of things I'd like to cut, and I welcome any input on whether doing away with these items is feasible, or totally weird, or what.  

    1.)  The bridal party.  I mean no bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, or ring bearer.  I've grown apart from most of my high-school friends and have deliberately not made many more friends over the years, and my fiance doesn't have any close friends either.  There aren't any children in either family of an appropriate age to be flowergirl, and only one of an age to be ring bearer. 

    2.)  Wedding arch/aisle runner.  What's the point of a wedding arch, just to be a background for all your pictures?  Why?  And why have an aisle runner when it'll just be stepped on (read: trip hazard).  The last wedding I was in, the aisle runner was a huge hassle because two young cousins of the bride were assigned to roll it out after all guests were seated, as the first bridesmaid (me) was walking up, and they couldn't figure it out and was a big delay in front of everyone.  Then the couple's child started wandering/twirling around in the middle of the ceremony and bunched it up and it was overall a mess.  People know where you're going to walk, and they know where you're going to stand.

    3.)  Alcohol of any kind.  FH and I don't drink, and only very few family members drink on occasion.  

    4.)  Favors.  I'm only having this wedding (instead of eloping) because certain family members said they wanted to be there.  I'm not going to bribe them with a knick-knack happy or small souvenir foodstuff just to get them to come.  The *wedding* is their favor.  

    5.)  Wedding shoes.  I asked my best friend why I would want to get special wedding shoes, to be uncomfortable during an important event and have limited rewearability afterwards.  She said it's to take pictures of them, of course!  ... Buying shoes just to take pictures OF them, because it's tradition.  No.

    6.)  Catering.  If at all possible, I intend to cook all the food for the reception the day before.  In lieu of having a bachelorette party, I'd invite all female family over the day before the wedding and we'd cook everything.  

    7.)  Bachelorette party/bridal shower.  See above.  I hate being the center of attention, don't want to ask for gifts, and just forsee it being awkward for everyone involved.  But that one isn't actually wedding-day related, so back on topic...

    8.)  Flowers.  I intend to make a bouquet of paper flowers (using sheet music from when FH and I were in band together) and any other flowers would also be paper flowers.  Centerpieces will be decorated stacks of books, since FH and I are huge nerds and like to read, and if needed I will make paper flowers to accent those.


    That's all I can think of at the moment.  Does anyone else have any expenses they think are unnecessary?  



    Sorry, but when I attend weddings, I do not intend to cook.  Wedding ceremonies are supposed to be followed by receptions as a thank-you to the guests for attending, and nobody feels "thanked" by being expected to cook their own provisions.  And the day before your wedding, nobody is going to want to do any cooking-especially you.

    Aside from the other things on the list, you can drop photography, videography, and music.
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @p3pp3rmint

    As for the candles, not that I noticed. But the venue had full serving staff, so it is possible they kept the candles going if they went out. You can also buy fake candles as well that might work.

    If I remember correctly, the centerpiece was a large square mirror placed in the center of the table. 3 tall vases of different heights sat on it, filled with stones and a floating fake flower, with two small tea lights in holders set towards the outside of the mirror.

    My friend got married at a restaurant. The room was a nice looking room already (wood walls and beams). She only used what the restaurant offered for decor, which was white table cloths and napkins, and single candles in holders set up along the length of the table. With the lights dimmed and candles lit (the wait staff lit them), no other decor was needed or missed!

    As for videography- we were lucky that my dad has a video recorder and tripod, so we set that up at the ceremony and have a video of that. Is it super high quality? No, but we have *something*. We could not justify the additional cost for videography (most places wanted $1500+ just for that).
  • julieanne912julieanne912 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2016
    BTW I spent $17k on my wedding, including my dress, for 130 people, in a medium cost of living area (Denver metro).  That included full BBQ buffet catering, waitstaff, AND alcohol (and 2 bartenders).  I could have done it for $12k no problem if I had picked a few cheaper options and/or had less people.  I did have my MOH make my invites (she volunteered, I did not ask), and my aunt is a florist so all I paid for was the wholesale flowers (again she volunteered, I did not ask).  But, had I not had those two perks, I would have gone very bare bones on those items since they weren't that important.

    $12k is a very reasonable budget, especially for less than 100 people.  Don't think you need to put your family to work just to save money.  
    Married 9.12.15
    image
    MesmrEweCharmedPam
  • edited March 2016
    jenna8984 said:

    OP, I went to a wedding 2 months ago where the couple cheaped out and said they would cook the food for 120 people. You know what happened? I ended up sitting at my table for over 2 hours with no food and no drink, and left and ate ate Burger King. The whole time I was saying "Really? they couldn't have scraped together $600 to order pizzas or sandwiches?". So I know you have taken good criticism here and rethought the "family cooking" aspect- I just wanted to really hammer that home LOL.

    No way! I have read quite a few threads where some bride thinks they'll be able to do all the cooking / potluck for their wedding, on here and on WW, but never heard a story from someone who actually went to one! I always thought (hoped!) it was urban legend. 

    Eta: Words. Always words.
                 
    [Deleted User]SP29jenna8984
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    OP- So you have your budget, which is excellent.

    Next is your guest list. Make up a "must invite" and "would like to invite list". Remember to include SOs and a place holder for any single guests to enter into a relationship.

    Then- what kind of ceremony do you want? In a church? That will be much more time specific, which requires you to plan your reception around it, otherwise, you've got a bit more freedom with the ceremony.

    THEN look at your venue. I suggest you start getting quotes from various locations based on the type of reception you'd like to have, and see how that fits into your budget with your larger guest list. Is it doable? Way off base? Could it be done with the smaller (must have) guest list? Do you need to change the style of the reception (dinner to brunch/lunch)?

    I would suggest looking at venues that often host weddings, as sometimes you can save money because they have and do everything there (ceremony+reception with all the table/chairs/staff/decor), but do also consider less traditional venues. Often places like churches, community halls, and community/cultural groups will either have a venue that can be rented cheaply and allow you to bring in your own caterer, or they will offer catering for a good price. Also consider golf courses and restaurants.

    Work out these larger details first- they are the foundation. Everything else you can play with.
    ernursej
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    @glasgowtolondon Oh me neither! When I heard they were doing that I thought "Surely there will be appetizer or chips or cake I can at least fill up on." Nope. None of the above. Not even enough WATER. They were cooking spaghetti on the spot (not the day before) and in 2.5 hours, 4 tables out of 15 got any. My table which was groom's parents, groom's 88 yr old grandparent's, groom's sister, my pregnant self, were not one of the lucky 4.

                                                                     

    image

  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I once got sick from a self-catered wedding. When we saw the food being set out by the bride, my now-ex boyfriend and immediately thought that we should eat after the wedding. However, she kept pushing everyone to eat and we were starving. Looking back, I blame the tuna casserole. Or maybe the baked ziti.

    I had to extend our trip a day because I was too sick to fly.

    Don't be that bride.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    MesmrEwe
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    jenna8984 said:
    @glasgowtolondon Oh me neither! When I heard they were doing that I thought "Surely there will be appetizer or chips or cake I can at least fill up on." Nope. None of the above. Not even enough WATER. They were cooking spaghetti on the spot (not the day before) and in 2.5 hours, 4 tables out of 15 got any. My table which was groom's parents, groom's 88 yr old grandparent's, groom's sister, my pregnant self, were not one of the lucky 4.

    I....can't.....even.... no words. 

    MesmrEwe
  •  
    jenna8984 said:
    @glasgowtolondon Oh me neither! When I heard they were doing that I thought "Surely there will be appetizer or chips or cake I can at least fill up on." Nope. None of the above. Not even enough WATER. They were cooking spaghetti on the spot (not the day before) and in 2.5 hours, 4 tables out of 15 got any. My table which was groom's parents, groom's 88 yr old grandparent's, groom's sister, my pregnant self, were not one of the lucky 4.

    I....can't.....even.... no words. 


    Reminds me of the friend who self-catered and later on had a pizza truck come in which took us 2-3 hours between the first and second slice of pizza..  For the self-catered portion the bride went to Costco and bought a big bag of Cocktail weenies - and put them out in a bowl - and couldn't figure out why no one was eating them!  (She hadn't even ATTEMPTED to warm them up!)... (that was the one where she got grouchy that I was bussing the tables at the end of the night and tossing the disposable plastic plates - that she'd intended to wash/reuse)...


    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    jenna8984
  • MesmrEwe said:
     
    jenna8984 said:
    @glasgowtolondon Oh me neither! When I heard they were doing that I thought "Surely there will be appetizer or chips or cake I can at least fill up on." Nope. None of the above. Not even enough WATER. They were cooking spaghetti on the spot (not the day before) and in 2.5 hours, 4 tables out of 15 got any. My table which was groom's parents, groom's 88 yr old grandparent's, groom's sister, my pregnant self, were not one of the lucky 4.

    I....can't.....even.... no words. 


    Reminds me of the friend who self-catered and later on had a pizza truck come in which took us 2-3 hours between the first and second slice of pizza..  For the self-catered portion the bride went to Costco and bought a big bag of Cocktail weenies - and put them out in a bowl - and couldn't figure out why no one was eating them!  (She hadn't even ATTEMPTED to warm them up!)... (that was the one where she got grouchy that I was bussing the tables at the end of the night and tossing the disposable plastic plates - that she'd intended to wash/reuse)...


    You have the budget for a pizza truck...but not a real meal? What?  Just order lots of pizza delivered!  

    And I'm sometimes grossly frugal, but the whole reason I used plastic plates at our wedding was so I didn't have to wash dishes on my wedding night!
    SP29MesmrEwe
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Re: candles. 

    I had tealights and pillar candles. We lit them ourselves before hand.  If any of them went out, I didn't notice. I think they all burned pretty well. I burn candles at my house all the time. I can't imagine them going out unless someone deliberately blows them out. 

    SP29
  • I'm mega thrifty too and I saved $2000 on the photographer by thinking outside the box!!!  

    Like you, I think centerpieces and shoes, etc are a waste so I did away with them.  So that means I didn't need half my photos which are always artsy close ups of decorations.  I convinced the photographer to go down to $1500 for 4 hours only.  That's 2 hours for couple shots (we are doing them the day after), 30 minutes for the ceremony, 30 minutes for family shots, and 1 hour of candids of guests before dinner.  

    When I looked at other people's photos, no one was posting the ones from food and beyond.  So I figured, forget them.  Everyone has a cell phone and we'll put out some candid cameras on the tables.  This cut like 25% off out budget!
    SP29p3pp3rmint
  • I'm doing my own hair and makeup - nothing too fancy here so I'm not worried about a next day redo.  I loved my mom's no makeup and natural hair wedding photos from the 70s.  But I'm glad we're doing white wine now :wink: 
  • janem26 said:
    I'm doing my own hair and makeup - nothing too fancy here so I'm not worried about a next day redo.  I loved my mom's no makeup and natural hair wedding photos from the 70s.  But I'm glad we're doing white wine now :wink: 
    You do know white wine stains almost as badly as red? I can remember the day of my aunt's wedding when she got lipstick on her wedding dress 20 minutes before the ceremony. Luckily, I knew that nail polish remover would get rid of it and we got it before it set.
  • Expensive rings. I actually want a silver wedding ring, because I'm so terrified of losing my engagement ring made with high end metals and blood diamonds, that I don't wear it.

    Wedding dress. You can probably find a tasteful wedding dress from after prom season. The alternative is also to purchase a sample dress.  
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